rescue of river soar narrowboat

rcr to rescue narrowboat on river soar

River Canal Rescue will be raising the capsized narrowboat at Barrow, on the River Soar, on Wednesday 25 March. Torrential rain and surging water caused the boat to break its moorings, sending it down river to bridge 30 where it became wedged.

rcr boat rescue at Barrow on SoarThe vessel was left in a precarious position, with the bow in the air and stern in the water, see-sawing on the barrier.  A refloat could not be undertaken until flood waters receded, however as levels quickly went down, the barriers gave way, resulting in the vessel capsizing and becoming trapped between the bridge pillars and the barrier pole.

This multi-agency rescue will also involve Essex Boatyard and Crouch Recovery. RCR managing director Stephanie Horton explains: “The best way to undertake this recovery without the vessel overturning and sinking in the river is to use divers, airbags and plant machinery. We’ll inflate the airbags, right the boat and then pull it forward away from the bridge with airbags on it. We’ll then pump it out, make it secure and tow it to a safe location – Pillings Lock.”

From here, the boat will be lifted onto a transporter and taken to a local yard for storage and assessment.

RCR narrowboat at barrow on soarGiven the extreme weight of the boat, RCR is using four winches with a total of 20-ton capacity to pull it away from the bridge. Stephanie continues: “This ‘pulling power’ will be attached to plant machinery and we’re removing a fence in the field opposite to get access to the location without causing too much damage to the meadow.”

In order to prepare the rigging, Essex Boatyard practised on a narrowboat that was capsized at the same angle as the stricken vessel.

River Canal Rescue will be onsite from Monday 23 March, preparing equipment, strapping the boat and managing health & safety issues.

Narrowboat Rescue on 25th March

photos by Mike Brown


soar narrowboat rescue

air bags attached to stricken narrowboat

fixing the tow

start of haul

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About River Canal Rescue

River Canal Rescue offers 24/7 marine breakdown assistance and recovery across the UK's inland waterway system. It also undertakes engine servicing and inspections, offers additional services (from plumbing and domestic electrical work to hull repairs, engine refits and insurance work), devised the world's first environmentally-friendly filter 'Bilgeaway' and has an online chandlery.